Those are the words that catapulted me into entrepreneurship. As GK3 gets ready to celebrate its one year anniversary, I have been reflecting on just how much progress we have made in such a short time. We have had many successes in our first year in business and have made just as many mistakes along the way. Most importantly, we have built amazing relationships with our clients and partners.
Where Are We Now? The Investor Experience
We are currently in the process of developing a turnkey platform for asset managers, "The Investor Experience" and are looking forward to the launch in early January. As we prepare for this next phase in the evolution of GK3, I wanted to share with you my first ever blog post which describes the moment I decided to start GK3. Let me provide a bit of context before we jump into the blog. It was the end of November 2016 and I was on the final leg of back-to-back-to-back, week-long business trips. I was feeling the cumulative effects of a very long and stressful, but unbelievably rewarding year. As the EVP of Discovery Data at the time, my team and I were responsible for a 200% increase in new business development, the successful merger of our largest competitor's clients, Meridian IQ, into our business, and traveling the country to consult with some of the most successful asset managers in the business.
The following is what I wrote on a flight from Las Vegas to Philadelphia:
"I am writing my first blog because I feel like this moment needs to be documented. Although not quite sure what it means yet, I believe that something very important and very real is beginning today. Let me try and explain.
Recently, I have been struggling with what I can only describe as an internal conflict. I have everything I ever dreamed of when I was younger. I have a beautiful wife who loves and adores me (most of the time). I have a family that although can sometimes be described as complicated, is a great source of pride and joy for me. I have many friends, both old and new that would do anything for me or my family and I have a great career that affords me a great lifestyle.
So why has something been nagging me that has been difficult to describe and frustrating to try and resolve? A feeling that something was missing and that I was not fulfilled. That there was something else I needed to make me happy.
I have always dreamed of starting my own business and working for myself. As someone that travels around helping other firms grow their business, it is something that I knew I could do for myself. However, every time I discuss the idea with friends or family, I am often met with a negative reaction. People have said:
- “It is too hard to start your own business”
- “How are you going support your family?”
- “You have too many people depending on your income”
- "What if you fail?"
I am a person that has never let other people's thoughts and opinions stop me from doing what I thought was right. In this case, the larger issue for me was that, I am not exactly sure what kind of business I want to start. I have so many ideas in my head and some go together and some are fighting with each other. It feels selfish to want to take such a big risk until I am exactly sure what it is that I am going to do and how I am going to make it work.
Until now, I have been reluctant to take the risk and I have allowed my negative thoughts and those negative people stop me from doing what I know that I can do…what I know I should do…what I know I need to do!!!
I am always looking for signs in life because I believe that is how God communicates with you. He puts people in your life exactly when you need them. Sometimes it is for the rest of your life, as is the case with my wife, and sometimes it is for a few hours when you sit next to someone on a flight from Arizona to New Jersey.
What I Learned from Barry [and What You Can, Too!]
Today, it was in a 15-minute cab ride from the Palms hotel in Las Vegas to the airport. I am struggling to unravel these thoughts and ideas as I get into my cab to head to the airport. Before the taxi door closes, Barry, who I don't know and who I never met invites himself to share a cab ride with me because we are both going to the airport. I was happy when he did and knew immediately that there was a reason that it happened.
After introducing himself, and without any prompting from me, Barry starts to tell me about himself and his business. Barry was in town for a convention and explained he was meeting with several big prospective clients and investors who have an interest in a product that he invented. He described his journey from working for a large organization for 30 years to stumbling on an idea for a new industrial soap, to how he has been consumed with launching his company and his product over the last three years. As he is describing how difficult and expensive it has been, I noticed that he never stopped smiling.
When I asked him why he was so happy, he explained that even though it was a challenging road for him to get to where he was, he wished that he had done it—30 years sooner. He described how much fun he was having and how easy it is for him to get out of bed and put in 16 hour days because of how rewarding it was to be creating something from scratch.
When I told him that I have been thinking about starting a business, he did not hesitate when saying, “You should do it”. I started to describe how I was struggling with all of these ideas and wasn’t sure how they all fit together, he stopped me and said, “That is a good thing. That is how you know you are going to be successful.” As we were pulling up to my terminal, we exchanged business cards and he volunteered to connect me with some people that could help me get started.
As I walked out of the cab he left me with this, “Work only feels like work when you would rather be somewhere else!”
That is when I realized what has been bothering me! In a 15-minute cab ride, Barry answered the question that I have been struggling to describe, even for myself. I have a desire to create something that is mine, where my ideas contribute to the success or temporary failure of the business and I control the outcome.
The Advent of GK3 Capital
So here I am, on another flight across the country documenting what happened to me today because I know that it is going to change my life. Today, I am starting GK3, a company named after my four kids, Gio, Kendall, Kinsley, and Kaitlyn. I am going to spend the next five hours writing the first draft of my business plan and when I get home, I am going to start the process of validating my idea. GK3 is a company that helps asset managers raise capital in the RIA Channel. We help you define your "go to market" strategy, train your sales people and marketing teams. I know that as my ideas take shape, the company will evolve. So that is where we start, who knows what it evolves into. What I do know is that I am excited about the journey!"
I wrote that blog exactly a year ago and felt compelled to finally share it. It has been an exciting journey so far, filled with so many positive moments and many lessons. I continue to discover new things about myself and the relationships I have formed with those around me. I am even more excited about the future of GK3 and the many exciting developments that we have planned for 2018 and beyond. Thank you to my family, my clients, my partners, and to all that have offered their help and support, we would not be here without you!